Puck Pieterse Edges Out Alvarado in Thrilling World Cup Hulst Finish

Puck Pieterse achieved her third consecutive cyclocross victory in a gripping World Cup race in Hulst. Leading from the first lap, Pieterse maintained her position at the front despite intense competition, particularly from Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado, who made a significant comeback in the final lap. Lucinda Brand secured the third spot, narrowly ahead of Fem van Empel, who finished fourth.

The race was marked by strong performances from the season’s prominent riders, including World Champion Fem van Empel and the rising star Puck Pieterse. Both riders were at the start line, along with Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado and Lucinda Brand, setting the stage for an intense battle. Pieterse’s early breakaway initially placed her ahead of the field, with Van Empel and Brand trailing closely in the initial stages. Alvarado, overcoming a slower start, joined the pursuit group, progressively closing the gap on Pieterse.

Lucinda Brand, working alongside Alvarado, effectively narrowed the distance to Pieterse in the fifth lap, reducing the lead to a mere seven seconds. However, Pieterse managed to extend her lead once again in the final lap. Despite a minor error by Pieterse and a hard-fought chase by Alvarado, Pieterse held onto her lead and crossed the finish line victorious, marking her third consecutive win.

In an interview following her win, Pieterse described the pressure she faced from Alvarado, Brand, and Van Empel. She acknowledged the difficulty of maintaining sharpness and the challenges posed by the tricky Hulst course. Pieterse emphasised her confidence in her ability to finish strong, especially in the sections of the course that played to her strengths.

World Cup Hulst 2023 Podium Pieterse Alvarado Brand

Lucinda Brand expressed satisfaction with her performance, considering the race’s demanding nature and the progress she’s made in such explosive courses. Despite her intense effort and collaboration with Alvarado, Brand had to settle for third place.

Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado, finishing second, reflected on the demanding nature of the race and the impact of her slow start. Despite the challenging circumstances, she remained committed to the pursuit and fought hard for the win, ultimately achieving a commendable second place.

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